Kamakura snow festival

This lovely festival is organized on the 15th and 16th of February in Yokote City, Akita prefecture located in the north of Japanese Honshu island. Organizers build over 100 igloo type of buildings in the Doro Koen Park in front of the Yokote City Hall. They are known as “kamakura”. Numerous tiny snow buildings are also made in different parts of the city. Inside each of these small objects there is a lit candle.

Kamakura
Kamakura

This festival is some 400 years old. Experts believe that this festival originated from two ancient traditions. Locals used to return the New Year decorations to gods. They did so by burning them. According to the second tradition children used to scare away birds that damage the crops.

Inside every kamakura people make an altar honouring the water gods. People pray to them for the good harvest, family safety, success in school and protection from fire. The offerings to these gods include sake and rice cakes. People attending the festival usually drink some “amazake”. Amazake is a sweet drink made of fermented rice. Special kamakura is called “kamkura-kan”. It can be seen during whole year in the Yokote City Hall.